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Roh Administration’s Anti-Free Speech Briefing System Faces Criticism from Within

Roh Administration’s Anti-Free Speech Briefing System Faces Criticism from Within

Posted August. 27, 2007 07:26,   


Many citizens have voiced concern over the Roh administration’s proposed integrated briefing system. Some insiders of the administration have recently become critical as well. The criticism from various quarters has pushed the Government Information Agency (GIA) up against a wall, which designed and implemented the anti-free speech system.

At an August 23 meeting hosted by the GIA, senior members from other government agencies reportedly expressed concern, citing a variety of practical reasons.

According to a source, who insists on anonymity, a number of attendees at the meeting said that the GIA appealed to the interagency cooperation. Representatives of major agencies, such as the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Finance and Economy, stressed, to dismay of GIA officials, the need to modify the integration plan.

Those agencies that voiced a strong position against the plan have already experienced harsh protests from the press corps.

A senior Finance Ministry member reportedly said at the meeting, “Despite the new guidelines forbidding enticement of press cooperation concerning the news embargo, we really need the system. Without a room for the press, we have to call 30-40 newspaper and media companies to ask for their cooperation. Do you believe we can enforce an embargo under these circumstances?” He also argued, “In our building, the briefing room is on the first floor, while the restrooms are on the second and third floor. What if a reporter has to go to a restroom? Do you think we can still force the reporters to remain on the first floor?”

A representative from the powerful Financial Supervisory Commission (“FSC”) complained, “We have done what you asked us to do. But we have taken the heat, not you.” The commission previously announced that it would set up a glass wall blocking press access to the elevators leading to FSC employee offices.

The GIA delegates reportedly asked for patience and promised to discuss the issues at the next meeting.

None of the participants, however, would officially confirm the details for the Dong-A Ilbo.